Friday, July 8, 2022

Plaque for site of historic Maryborough homes

The house that lent its name to a street, suburb and sporting clubs has been commemorated with a plaque in the Fraser Coast suburb of Maryborough.

The plaque, unveiled in Eric Cummings Park at the end of Dalhousie Street, Maryborough, commemorates the stately Doon Villa and Dalhousie residences which once towered over the site.

The project, supported by Fraser Coast Mayor, George Seymour, was driven by former Doon Villa resident June O’Hanlon. June lived in Doon Villa From late 1952 to Easter 1953 while her father built a new home in Dalhousie Street.

The plaque contains a sketch of Doon Villa by Fraser Coast artist Susie Hansen and a short story on the homes.

“Our history is very important; It helps us understand who we are and where we have come from,” Mayor Seymour said.

“The plaque adds more meaning to a visit to the park by opening up a window to the past.

“It gives us the information that enables us to imagine what was here, the grandeur of the stately homes and the people who made Maryborough.”

Doona Villa was built in 1875 for Peter Graham and Dalhousie in 1881 for Percy Ramsay.

While images of Dalhousie no longer exist, the remains of concrete steps and a fountain – now a garden bed – can be seen in the backyard of a nearby property.

The 7-hectare (19 acre) property, which extended from John Street to Treasure Street, had imposing views of the Mary River.

Doon Villa was bought by the Hon. Andrew H Wilson – a partner of the Wilson Hart Sawmill which stood where the Brolga Theatre now stands – in 1882 and Dalhousie in 1902.

He made extensive additions to Doon Villa including transferring the tower from Dalhousie.

Wilson was the founder of the Doon Villa Bowls Club which is the oldest affiliated bowls club in Queensland. He built a two-rink bowling green on the grounds of Doon Villa and the club was inaugurated in 1893.

From 1933 to 1953 the house was home to Hector and Lillias Dunn. Mr Dunn, a journalist, was the managing director of the Maryborough Newspaper Company.

In the 1950’s the house was sold to developers who subdivided the land for housing and Doon Villa was demolished.

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